Friday 20 April 2018

Convicted killer who carried out bizarre act in garda station to be sentenced next year

Store Street Garda Station and inset Mark Bissett at a previous court hearing
Store Street Garda Station and inset Mark Bissett at a previous court hearing

A convicted killer, who began eating his own faeces after he was arrested for trying to attack a Garda at a Dublin station, will be sentenced in January.

Mark Bissett's "bizarre behaviour" happened when he turned violent during a drink and drug fuelled outburst at Store Street Garda station in the city-centre. Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned sentencing at Dublin District Court Court to let him complete a residential drug rehabilitation programme.

The court heard more evidence on Thursday on other assault, public order and criminal damage offences committed by then homeless Bissett between February and April.

Bissett (31) from Loughlinstown Park, in Loughlinstown, Dublin, was jailed for six years in 2005 for killing his uncle David Sutherland in Sallynoggin, Dublin, on December 20, 2003.

Mr Sutherland (54), from Ballybrack, Dublin, was beaten and kicked to death in a drunken row following an accusation by Bissett that Mr Sutherland had killed his aunt.

His case at the district court resumed on Thursday when Judge Smyth heard that highly intoxicated Bissett attacked a foreign shop worker at a Spar on South Richmond Street in Dublin. He acted in a threatening manner and told the victim “why don't you go home you fucking p**i b*****d”.

Mark Bissett at a previous court hearing in 2005
Mark Bissett at a previous court hearing in 2005

He punched him in the head and stomach and he man also suffered scrape to his left arm but the defendant apologised to him later. He also shoved another shop worker during the incident.

He was arrested after a row with a shop security guard on a date in February and on April 11 he broke a window at a garda station, causing €100 worth of damage. He was homeless and because “he had no where to go” he wanted to be arrested, Judge Smyth was told. He also brought money to court to pay for the window.

Bissett has also pleaded guilty to breach of the peace, being intoxicated to such an extent he was a danger to himself and others, criminal damage and violent behaviour at Store Street Garda station, on March 3 and March 18 last.

Garda James Seymour gave evidence earlier that on March 3, Bissett, who has 47 prior criminal convictions, was acting aggressively at the front counter in the station.

The father-of-three attempted to assault the sergeant in charge and he struck Gda Seymour and his colleagues. Gda Seymour had to strike him twice with his baton before they placed him in a cell.

Bissett defecated in the cells and “consumed his own faeces” causing a health hazard and damage to cell walls which were covered with excrement and had to be cleaned at a cost of €400.

On March 18, Bissett returned to the station in an intoxicated state and lay on the floor. When asked to leave he began hurling abuse at gardai calling them faggots and c***s”.

The court was given a breakdown of his criminal record: 26 convictions for breach of the peace and being drunk in public; one for obstructing a drug search; one for affray; two for possessing knives; two minor assaults, one for assault causing harm, another for assaulting a garda, three thefts; five robberies; one conviction for manslaughter, one for failing to comply with a Garda's public order caution to leave the vicinity and two for criminal damage.

Defence counsel Emmet Nolan said his client now has mental health issues but is aware that his "bizarre behaviour" at the garda station was unacceptable. He had taken a large quantity of benzodiazepine tablets and alcohol and has no recollection of the incident but is deeply ashamed, the barrister said.

The court was told he has little contact with family and he left school at the age of 13.

Mr Nolan said Bissett was using hostels from the age of 15 and became addicted to benzodiazepine and alcohol. However, he pointed out that his client will be able to spend three months in a residential treatment centre for his addiction issues and he will pay for the damage in the Garda station cell.

Judge Smyth was furnished with a probation report and said the accused seemed to be making progress but “could well be looking at a sentence”. He sought an updated report and agreed to adjourn sentencing until a date in January.

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